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Double Bang

review by Chad Peter

 

 

Running Time: R

Running Time: 103 minutes

Starring: William Baldwin, Jon Seda, Elizabeth Mitchell, Adam Baldwin

Written and Directed by: Heywood Gould

 

Studio: Artisan

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Trailer, Cast and Crew Filmographies

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections

Released: February 19th, 2002

 

 

Consider the possibilities...

-- William Baldwin acting in the lead role.

-- Adam Baldwin not far behind.

-- A horrendous title, "Double Bang"

...One would think we're about to waste one hundred and three minutes of our short lives to watch this film.

But are my presumptions correct?

It's no "Hard Boiled", but "Double Bang" could double for a fairly decent episode of "NYPD Blue". This film relies on a simple, straight forward and untwisted plot. There are no major special effects -- There are no incredible twists -- And there is nothing about this film that hasn't been done countless times before it. So why did I still enjoy it?

I enjoyed this film because I knew what to expect from the genre, and because, in all seriousness, the production comes off as if it were handled by people who cared about what made final cut. The number one problem with smaller budget films these days is compromise. Compromise will first and foremost destroy a film, particularly the integrity of it. My guess is that Heywood Gould, the writer and director of "Double Bang," understands what it means to be in the position he's in, and he respects that and does not screw around. His filmography stretches back to 1977, and I do believe he means business -- And, fortunately for "Double Bang," that business equates into the difference between a good and bad film.

"Double Bang," however, remains a film professor's nightmare -- Every other scene is a flashback. But these characters, although not entirely lovable or fully developed, carry a sense of wit about them that allows us to like them. Take Jon Seda's character for example -- The lead baddie in the film. Seda plays the type of weasel character that we generally hate. Yet, in this case, Seda's lines allow for an element of cool to be expressed. His character never crosses the lines set before himself, and ultimately has other people do his business, outside of his presence. By all means, we shouldn't like this guy, and yet he has grown on me by the end of the first hour.

Not every character in this film is a Jon Seda however. William Baldwin plays a character not unlike his past twenty B-movie roles, and his brother Adam plays the same push and shove tough guy I've seen him play in just about everything. In these cases, there's little room for improvement. On the other hand, there's the Carrie Anne Moss look alike, Elizabeth Mitchell, whom plays a semi-interesting, but shallow and underdeveloped lass who gets to fulfill the "fantasy of a lifetime" by sleeping with a male whore -- something she, as her conservative doctor character, admittedly normally wouldn't do. Even her role isn't incredibly interesting when everything boils down to it, but it's interesting enough.

This is a film that should have been made only for television, and I'm not sure why exactly it wasn't -- It might have garnered a bit more exposure, and a bit more attention as well. OR, perhaps it was (on TV), and no one actually liked it. This film is really 50/50 -- either you'll like it, or you'll wish you had those hundred and three minutes back.

If you like "NYPD Blue" or "Sopranos," this film might float your boat -- even though it's a bit watered down -- Otherwise, pass on this one.

 

 

Video quality on this wasn't anything too grand. Many shots allowed for film grain here and there, while the majority of the film remained quite clean. The transfer left no visible scratches or hairs (that I noticed), but the MPEG2 compression left some muddy digital distortions over black areas of some scenes (and it slightly desaturated a lot of the film's colors).

Fortunately, "Double Bang" was well shot -- except for one god awful handheld tracking shot up a set of stairs towards the very beginning of the film. Lighting wasn't anything beyond dramatic, and fit the moods quite nicely. Had the story been more original, this film might have had potential.

 

Unlike the last film I reviewed, "Double Bang" was actually in sync! The sounds were overall crisp and natural without distortion or effect abuse. The Dolby tracks were nice and did not present any errors upon viewing. The use of Jazz within the the score was an unexpected perk to the feel of the film -- And I believe stood out as the main thing keeping this film "classy."

 

Of the two available supplements, the Cast and Crew selected filmographies held the most of my interests. It was interesting to see where I could recognize most of these "I've seen them before" faces -- but isn't anything that the Internet couldn't tell you.

On the second hand, there was the original "Double Bang" trailer, which might be harder to find on the internet, but ultimately cannot grasp my full appreciation.

Again, costs aside, I cannot stress the importance of a "full" DVD more. Full, as in, at the VERY least, a five mini making of featurette on the film. Someone on the film crew could easily take the time to make a short film on the making of this film -- and if not, producers should begin recruiting film studies majors as interns, hired to film the process of making the film. A better DVD would result, and producers wouldn't have to pay gobs and gobs of money to another greedy documentarian.

*cough* Not that all documentarians are greedy ;)

 

"Double Bang" is an interesting film, but shouldn't be your first choice as a purchase or rental unless you're sure that all the "good" films have been checked out. There's nothing here that you haven't seen before, unless you've seen nothing at all. If you're a Baldwin family fan, I guess I can't stop you -- You'll probably enjoy this film.